Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Antoine et Antoinette (1947)

From director Jacques Becker, this movie is short and simple. Antoine works in a printing house, cutting books' edges with a machine; while his wife Antoinette waits a photo booth in a supermarket. They are working class people, don't have much money, but they are happy. They rent a little apartment across a grocery whose owner flirts with Antoinette.

One day, the grocer sends Antoinette flowers and this make Antoine angry. Even angrier when he finds out that Antoinette has bought a lottery ticket. "Another wasted 30 francs," he said. However, when he checks the number out, he finds that the ticket wins 800.000 francs and they start to make a list of things they want to buy, and at the top of the list is a motorcycle with a sidecar.

That night Antoine wakes up in the middle of the night and store the ticket inside one of their books. The next morning, the grocer comes again to see Antoinette but she has left for work, and Antoine - who doesn't come to work because he has to go to the bank to pick up his money - meets him instead and while they are arguing, Juliette (a friend) comes to borrow the book where Antoine had put in his lottery ticket. In a hurry, he grabs a ticket from the book without looking, before giving the book to Juliette. Without his knowing, another Antoinette's friend had put another lottery ticket in the book, but this ticket doesn't have a winning number. In the printing house, the boss had given rejected books to Antoine and those books circulating among their friends who borrow them. Remember, this was 1947 and money were spent for food, not for books.

In the metro station, Antoine has lost his wallet, where he put in the lottery ticket. It's like, his dreams won't come true now. Antoinette had heard this sad news, too. Antoine then goes to a bar, where the owner is having a wedding party for his daughter. The bride-groom is the one who found Antoine's wallet earlier that morning and he returns the wallet, but Antoine goes angry when he looks at the ticket, how the number has changed. The bar owner defends his new son-in-law, saying that if he really wanted to swap the ticket he wouldn't have returned the wallet at all.

Antoine goes home to find the grocer is trying to seduce his wife. They are having a duel and Antoine's head hits a rack in the kitchen. He passes out and remembers the details when Juliette came that morning to borrow the book. He opens his eyes and voilĂ ! there is Juliette, in the crowd who watching the duel, holding the book. He gets his lottery ticket back.

The movie ends with Antoine and Antoinette riding their new motorcycle with a sidecar.

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